InGuillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun’s French classic, The Romance of the Rose, the personification and symbolism tropesand the philosophies of obsession and disrespect towards women have impactedcontemporary popular culture. These impacts are seen mainly through the mediabecause that is the main source of information for people today. Thecharacters in The Romance of the Rose impacthow our culture operates on a social level. Throughout the poem, emotions arepersonified as real people. In the poem and in contemporary popular culture,Evil Tongue, Jealousy, and Fear keep us from love.
Oneof the characters from this poem that we see regularly throughout our cultureis Evil Tongue. In the story plot, Evil Tongue protects the roses from loversby his evil speech and spreading rumors and lies about them. He kept the maincharacter, Guillaume, away from the rose flower he loved by scaring him andFair Welcome away with his evil speech. In contemporary popular culture Evil Tonguealso keeps people away from love because they are offended by the evil speech. Sadly,this evil speech has become a normality in today’s culture.
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When Evil Tongue iseffective, fights, breakups, and deaths occur. A good example of Evil Tonguecausing a fight to occur is when Amanda Bynes verbally attacked Rihanna in 2013.Amanda Bynes offended Rihanna by saying, “You look so ugly trying to be white.Chris Brown beat you because you’re not pretty enough.
” Evil Tongue caused afeud between Amanda and Rihanna. This relationship is still tense becauseAmanda wanted to feel superior over Rihanna in that moment. An example of oneof the many breakups Evil Tongue has caused is between Kris Humphries and KimKardashian. After Kim was complaining about their housing situation, Krissnapped at her saying, “By the time you have kids and they’re in school, no onewill care about you.
” Shortly after this evil speech, Kim filed for divorcefrom Kris. Evil Tongue kept the two from being able to love each other. Extremecases of Evil Tongue, like the suicide of Megan Meier, can lead the victim tokill themselves. After a guy she liked started sending her cruel messages, “Theworld would be a better place without you.” she hung herself in her closet.Evil Tongue stops people from being able to love one another through his evilspeech. Anothercharacter from the poem that is a major influence in culture is Jealousy. AfterGuillaume kisses the rose, Jealousy imprisoned Fair Welcome and built a hugecastle around all the roses.
Jealousy works closely with Evil Tongue in reallife too because when one becomes jealous, they start to say evil things to theperson causing them this feeling. Jealousy is present in many forms of media,this influences everyone who watches it. Thus, contributing to the characteristicsof our culture. During an episode of Stranger Things, Eleven got jealous whenshe saw Mike, her love interest, hanging out with his friend Maxine. When shesaw their interaction, she threw Maxine off her skateboard with hertelekinesis.
Fearis another character from the poem that is affecting our culture every day. Inthe poem, Fear works alongside Jealousy and Evil Tongue to defend the rosesfrom lovers. Near the end of the poem, Fear defeats Discretion, Boldness andSecurity in a fight for the roses. Fear keeps people from doing many things inlife. Most of the time, Fear keeps people from speaking up because they have afear of getting hurt.
An example of Fear keeping someone from speaking up forthemselves is Kesha. Kesha was afraid to speak up for herself after she wasraped by her record producer, Dr. Luke. Fear kept her from speaking out andgetting help because she was afraid of what he might do to her. There are manyrape accusations just now coming to the surface that are ten to twenty yearsold. Many of these rape victims were sexually abused by high-level men and women.
Victims feared that if they spoke out against these people of power, theywouldn’t be believed and could get hurt from speaking the truth. Fear can alsokeep people from loving. In The Romanceof the Rose, Fear kept Guillaume from being able to love the rose throughthe use of thorns.
Guillaume didn’t want to get hurt by the thorns even thoughhe longed for the flower. Many people struggle with this dilemma in today’sculture. They want to love someone, but they don’t want to get hurt by them.
This causes many people to not open up to others due to the fear of gettinghurt. Thephilosophy of obsession is a recurring theme throughout the poem that is also evidentthrough all aspects of our culture. Guillaume fell deeply in love with a roseat the beginning of the poem. This obsession with the rose carries on until theend when he is able to pluck the rose from the garden. His obsession with therose caused him great agony and pain because it was all he could think about.
Obsessionis becoming an increasing problem with technology use. According to the CommonSense Census, “Teenagers spend nine hours a day on their phone while tweensspend six hours a day.” All of this time on their phones is taking a toll ontheir sleep, weight, and behavior. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block explained at apress conference about the negative effects of technology obsession, “Perhapsthe most dramatic impact is the reduction in the amount of sleep. Fifty yearsago, the average adult got eight and a half hours of sleep; now we average lessthan seven hours a night.
Bright light reduces levels of the hormone melatonin,which regulates sleep, and decreases leptin, which makes you feel full. At thesame time, bright light increases ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry.” Humansare becoming so obsessed with technology that their physical health is beingharmed from it. This is also inhibiting their social skills. According to PsychCentral, “In addition, social skills and face to face interactions are damagedthrough impersonal communication because the individual is unable to expressbody language, tone, voice, touch and facial expressions through text message.”Technology is the rose of modern times. It is what people are obsessed with andjust like Guillaume it is all they think about.
People can’t even safely drivewithout going on their phone! Just like in TheRomance of the Rose people disregard Reason because they are so wrapped upwith their rose. Anothermain philosophy that recurs throughout the entire poem is disrespect towardswomen. When characters are describing their “rules” of love, the idea thatwomen are not to be trusted is repeated.
When Nature speaks to Genius aboutwomen she says, “Be sure to hold your tongues, for nothing will succeed if theyshare your secrets, so proud and overbearing are they, with such biting,poisonous, hurtful tongues” (de Meun 257). Nature goes on to say that you canlove women, but you can never confide in them. Just like in Jealousy’s case,the media acts as to influence the population. Damon Young’s statistics provethis to be true, “The theme that women’s feelings aren’t really to be trustedby men drives (an estimated) 72.81 percent of the sitcoms we watch, 31.
2percent of the books we read, and 98.9 percent of the conversations men havewith other men about the women in their lives.” Men have a harder timebelieving something when a woman tells them versus when a man tells them. Theybelieve the women’s feelings are false or overreacted on.
This disrespect andlack of trust towards women is present when Guillaume is around the roseflower. The rose flower symbolizes a woman that Guillaume has fallen madly inlove with. Near the beginning of the poem, Guillaume wants to kiss the flower.Fair Welcome tells him he cannot kiss the flower because Chastity doesn’t allowkisses. Instead of obeying her wishes and moving on, he kept pushing untilVenus allowed the kiss to happen. This disrespect towards women is also evidentthroughout the main story plot. The rose flower is being protected fromGuillaume, but as in the example before this, Guillaume won’t let it go.
Hecontinues to try and win the love of the rose flower even though it is clearthat is not what she wants. The last example of disrespect towards women inthis literary work is at the very end of the poem. After Venus captures thecastle, Guillaume goes in to find the rose flower. Fair Welcome told Guillaumehe may love the rose as long as he didn’t do anything that was not in the goodwill of him or the rose. Guillaume disobeys his wishes when he begins to probethe flower and pluck at its leaves.
Fair Welcome reminds him of the promise andhow his actions were inappropriate, but that does not stop Guillaume. This isalso very evident right now with continuous rape and assault accusations. Aman’s disrespect towards women is most evident when they rape orinappropriately touch women. Women tell them to stop but the men only do asthey please and disregard what women say. In many of the rape accusations thewomen claim they told the men to stop and tried to get away, however, the mendid not listen to their wishes. They continued to rape and touch the womenbecause it is what they wanted.
If men had respect for women, they wouldbelieve and trust them the same as men and would obey their wishes. Thisnovel contains many tropes and philosophies that are seen in contemporarypopular culture. The main tropes being the personification of emotions andcharacters as humans and the philosophies of obsession and the disrespecttowards women. All of the personified emotions keep people from loving whilethe obsession affects their physical and mental state and disrespecting womenhinder how they’re treated.